Changing Your Mindset On Food
Changing your mentality of food.
Maintaining a diet is the key to seeing great results in your fitness journey. Whether you’re losing weight, gaining muscle, or even maintaining weight/muscle mass, your diet is the number one factor in seeing the proper results.
There is one common struggle people face along their journey, and that is maintaining a diet. Someone may be at a calorie deficit and be hungry and when they see something sweet and tell themselves “I need to have that”, they’ll have it. They get their instant gratification and then usually end up feeling guilty and just binging afterward. I used to suffer from looking at food as luxury and always cravings for things like donuts, soda, even candy. For me, a mentality shift is what helped me get over this and see food in a whole in a new light.
Calories make up all food. To put your diet into a very short and simplistic matter, your weight will fluctuate based on your calorie input and output. Consume excess calories, and you will gain weight. You consume an insufficient amount of calories, and you will lose weight. It’s as simple as that. However, what is a calorie? A calorie by definition is a unit of energy. Knowing this, food is made up of calories that give you energy. Food = energy. When you take in excess calories/energy, you gain fat. Your body is practically storing energy at this point. This is a natural survival feature your body will do. In the case of you starving, your body starts to eat away at the fat/excess energy and use it up to give you the energy to survive. However too much-stored energy is not a good thing for the human body and can cause complications for you... Which is the opposite of survival and will inevitably lead to possible fatal consequences.
Food is Fuel. Food is for survival.
Food is fuel for your body and helps you live day by day and gives you energy for daily activities. Food is now viewed as a luxury item we have in our life.We have all these crazy combinations of meals like a cheeseburger on a donut. Granted, having food as a luxury is nice. It tastes amazing and it’s nice to know we don’t have to go out hunting for our meals anymore (unless you’re into that). However, since food is a luxury, what’s the point in over-consuming? Have you ever noticed dogs seem to be an endless pit sometimes? They can just keep on eating and it seems like they can’t stop. The reason being is because dogs are practically scavengers. They follow a feast or famine diet. Dogs know they can go many days without food and when food is accessible they’ll get the most out of it since they don’t know when their last meal will be. The thing is dogs don’t know when their last meal will be, but humans have the luxury of picking and eating specific meals at any time, yet still eat as much as possible even when knowing they have easy accessibility to food when needed. If you have the luxury to eat whenever you want and whatever you want, why not use that luxury to optimize your performance and optimize your chances of survival? A great majority of Americans nowadays eat themselves to death… The complete opposite of what food is meant to do for you. Use food as a tool for survival. A tool to make you physically feel better and stronger. Don't use it for the instant gratification that the food gives you because of taste.
In the end, all food comes out the same way.
Breaking the habits.
I know changing a mindset of food is difficult. It may take some time to adopt a new view on food as a whole. Personally for me, going on a specific diet helped a lot.Right now, I follow an “If it fits your macros” (IIFYM) diet style, but I developed the mindset of food being fuel when I was on a Paleo Diet (or the caveman diet). Having only strict meals and skipping out on certain foods was difficult, but it made me realize that food was mainly for fuel. I couldn’t have all the sweets and crazy exotic foods I always wanted and craved, but I got over it. The taste of the food didn't matter as much and was not what I truly valued. I only valued how the food made me feel in terms of energy levels. Later I discovered the IIFYM diet but still kept the same mindset as when I was on a Paleo diet. Food is for fuel. I don't indulge in food anymore just because it tastes good. However, it is great to have plenty of food of my choosing and not have any true restrictions, the key is to have self-control. Understand what is needed and not needed and what is excessive. If you’re having a problem changing your mindset, I would recommend going on a specific diet like Paleo or even Keto. Even though I don’t follow those diets, it helped me build a better mindset regarding food and gain self-control of my diet.
If you’re going to take more control of what you’re intaking you must start tracking your food. Go one day tracking all the food you normally eat day to day and just see how it adds up. A good amount of restaurants offer nutrition facts on their websites, or if you’re cooking food almost all food you buy will have nutrition facts on it. Track it and see where you fall in terms of your diet. Use the calorie calculator here to see how it compares to the food you’re eating on a daily basis. Even consider tracking your energy levels throughout the day. See how the food you consume affects your day to day life. See what gives you energy, which makes you full and satisfied, what makes you tired/lazy. You’ll be amazed at the conclusions you’ll end up with. Take control of your diet, and you’ll take control of your life.